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Was Neuheisel an effective recruiter at UW?
Malamute, 2 June 2006

Much has been written about Rick Neuheisel's recruiting ability -- most of it negative. The common thread is that he was a mediocre recruiter who left the cupboard bare for former coach Keith Gilbertson, who replaced Neuheisel (1999-2003, 33-16) as coach of the University of Washington after he was fired in 2003.

As they say at MIT, shut your mouth until the stats come clean. #

Currently, the data below suggest that Rick may have been a much better recruiter than people have said; however, the final ballots are uncounted and won't be tabulated completely for two years.

The last three of his five recruiting classes (2001, 2002, 2003) had an average ranking of eighteenth in the nation, as posted by one recruiting service. However, where did members of each of his five classes end up after their careers at Washington were over?

Eighteen members of Rick Neuheisel's past recruiting classes at Washington are slated to report to NFL training camps this summer. In my opinion, thirteen members of the 2006 Huskies recruited by Rick have NFL potential. Eight of his talented recruits failed to make the cut in the past, mostly because of injuries. Included in Table 3, TE Kevin Ware spent 3 years in the NFL before being waived by the San Francisco 49ers.

In total, 40 of his former recruits (out of 121) are or were NFL worthy.  On the Sunday circuit, Rick is currently batting 21% (18 out of 86 players), has a potential batting average of 26% (31 out of 121 players), and including all the players in the three tables below has a virtual average of 33% (40 out of 121).

Because thirty-five of Rick's underrated recruits are on this season's roster, the football rags that come out this week may be barking up the wrong tree as far as predicting where the 2006 Dawgs will finish in the Pac-10. Neuheisel called Isaiah Stanback the best quarterback he'd seen on video tape during the 2002 recruiting battles; now a senior, the four-star helmsman will lead the Huskies into the 2006 season.  

Not counted in these statistics, Kai Ellis is playing in the CFL. Two of the recruits (Joey Thomas and Donte Nicholson), listed in Table 1, transferred from Washington and played for other schools. Several of Neuheisel's recruits went un-drafted because of injury and eventually signed free agent contracts.

After all of his recruits have used up their eligibility, we'll make a final determination as to whether Neuheisel could recruit or not.

Table 1. Ricks recruits headed to NFL training camps
Player NFL Team

Class of

Tui Alailefaleula NY Jets 2001 R FA
Roc Alexander Denver 2000 2 FA
Rich Alexis Jacksonville 2000 1 FA
Khalif Barnes Jacksonville 2000 2 2
Evan Benjamin Seattle 2001 R FA
Greg Carothers Buffalo 2000 R FA
Marquis Cooper Tampa Bay 2000 2 3
Manase Hopoi Minnesota 2001 R FA
Derrick Johnson San Francisco 2000 1 6
Terry Johnson Chicago 2000 3 2
Rob Meadow Baltimore 2001 R FA
Donte Nicholson Tampa Bay 2000 2 5
Cody Pickett San Francisco 1999 2 7
James Sims NY Giants 2001 R FA
Joey Thomas New Orleans 1999 2 3
Joe Toledo Miami 2001 R 4
Zach Tuiasosopo Oakland 2000 R FA
Reggie Williams Jacksonville 2001 3 1

E=Experience; D=Draft Round; FA=Free Agent; R=Rookie

The old cliché that you can't evaluate members of a recruiting class until they have used up their eligibility is true in a certain sense. Even so, I examined the this year's roster and evaluated it for NFL potency. In my opinion, at least thirteen of Neheisel's recruits have the talent to play on Sundays.

Table 2. Rick's recruits on the 2006 roster with NFL talent
Player Class of:
Casey Bulyca 2004 *
Craig Chambers 2003 **
Stanley Daniels 2002
Sean Douglas 2003
Dashon Goldson 2002
Kenny James 2002
Donny Mateaki 2002
Louis Rankin 2003
Isaiah Stanback 2002
Clay Walker 2002
C. J. Wallace 2003
Scott White 2002
Walt Winter 2004 *

* Committed to Neuheisel in April 2003

** Transferred to Montana

Players recruited by Neuheisel who had/have NFL potential, but for one reason or another will most likely not play in the NFL this season.

Table 3. Rick's talented recruits who missed the cut, opted for other careers, or who no longer are in the NFL.

Player Class Reason
Paul Arnold 1999 Injured
Dan Dicks 2000 Injured
Charles Frederick 2001 Chronic injuries in last season *
Joe Lobendahn 2001 Injured
Andre Reeves 2000 Injured
Nathon Rhodes 2002 Injured
Nate Robinson 2002 NBA first round pick
Grady Sizemore 2000 MLB third round pick
Kevin Ware 1999 Played 3 years in NFL.

* Holds UW record for all-purpose yards

# MIT = Mission Intelligence Tacticians (okay, okay, a bad joke).

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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